Rams, Chargers lead Maui relief efforts

(News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers have sprung into action to try to assist individuals and families rocked by the deadly wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The two NFL ballclubs have joined other Southern California professional sports teams to contribute to relief efforts.  

Multiple fires in Olina, Kula, Lahaina, and Pulhe, have turned the popular tourist getaway into an island of burnt remains with the death toll at 111 as of Aug. 17. That number is expected to climb with many people still considered missing. Libraries have been gutted. Buildings have been destroyed. Historical landmarks have been decimated into charred memories.

The cost of the damage done by wildfires is estimated to be in the billions of dollars range. After taking a tour of the ruins left behind by the wildfires on Aug. 10, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green painted a grim but hopeful picture of the nation’s 50th state being able to rebound from the horrific damage done by the fires.   

Photo courtesy of The Office of Hawaii Gov. Josh Green

“What we saw today was likely the largest natural disaster in Hawai‘i state history,” Green said. “It’s going to take a great deal of time to recover from this, but we have the support from every level of government all the way up to the federal level, especially given President Biden’s approval of my disaster declaration request today. It will be a tremendous effort, but we will come together as a community and begin working toward rebuilding from this tragedy.”  

Hawaii is not alone in its rebuilding efforts. The Rams, and Chargers, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Sparks, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles Football Club, Anaheim Ducks, and the Angel City Football Club, have banded together to donate $450,000 those affected by the wildfires. 

Of course, organizations are extending their charitable efforts beyond the combined monetary donation they put together. Rams players, coaches and staff will wear “M?lama Maui” t-shirts during warmups leading up to their preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders. 

Photo courtesy of The Office of Hawaii Gov. Josh Green

“Our thoughts and prayers are with people that are affected with those Maui fires,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said after a joint practice against the Raiders on Aug. 17. “It’s a terrible thing, but we’ll be wearing shirts on Saturday’s game to benefit and support those who have been affected and all the proceeds will go to them and we’re keeping them in our thoughts and prayers and want to be able to do our part.” 

The Rams partnered with Hawaiian designer Saedene Ota from the Sae Design Group to come up with specially-made t-shirts. T-shirts worn and signed by players will be auctioned off. 

“As we are heartbroken for all impacted by the devastating wildfires in Hawaii, various departments within our organization embodying ‘We Not Me’ came together to formulate a plan to support the critical work being done by American Red Cross,” said Molly Higgins, Los Angeles Rams executive vice president of community impact and engagement.? “Hawaii welcomed us as part of their community in 2019 and our special connection continues today. We hope that these efforts and funds are able to help the recovery efforts and provide some relief to those in need.”?

Chargers safety Alohi Gilman grew up in Hawaii. The Laie native and fourth-year player out of Notre Dame has been hard hit by the tragic events that have engulfed Maui.  

Photo courtesy of The Office of Hawaii Gov. Josh Green

“In the wake of recent events in Maui, the images, videos and stories of the past few days have struck a deeply personal chord with me,” said safety Alohi Gilman. “Maui isn’t just a place on the map; it’s a part of my homeland, my connection to Hawaii. My heart resonates with the resilience of the people who lost their homes while also stepping up for their neighbors in need.

“Hawaiians represent a rich tapestry of culture, family, and values that embody the spirit of Aloha. And it’s our privilege to share the warmth of Aloha with the world. I implore everyone to embrace the Aloha spirit, to extend your hand in solidarity with Maui. Whether through donations, acts of kindness or spreading love far and wide, let’s join together in making a difference.”

The Chargers will donate $50,000 but hope to raise more than that amount from its preseason game against the New Orleans Saints. The Chargers Impact Fund, the organization’s charitable wing, will peel off its entire 50/50 raffle proceeds to go to the team’s Maui relief efforts. 

Photo courtesy of The Office of Hawaii Gov. Josh Green

“The images and video coming out of Maui over the past week are heartbreaking,” said Chargers Chairman of the Board Dean Spanos. “The destruction is beyond comprehension, and the loss of life is nothing short of tragic. This hits especially close to home when I think of the vibrant Hawaiian community here in Southern California and players past and present like Manti Te’o and Alohi Gilman – proud Hawaiians who I know are hurting right now. It’s our duty to lend a helping hand and aid our neighbors across the Pacific in their recovery efforts while keeping them top of mind in the tough weeks and months ahead.”

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